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In the United States, federally mandated programs started in 1980 and promoted adolescent abstinence from sexual intercourse, which resulted in teens turning to oral sex, which about a third of teens considered a form of abstinence in a study.

However, they often felt disempowered because of this; they often did not feel like they actually received what they expected in return and this made them feel like they had less power in their relationship.

They were trying to balance maintaining a good reputation with trying to maintain a romantic relationship and wanting to behave in adult-like ways. Many boys believed that their male peers who were abstinent would not as easily climb the social ladder as sexually active boys.

Some boys said that for them, the risks that may come from having sex were not as bad as the social risks that could come from remaining abstinent.

This, they said, made it easier for them to lose their virginity once they wanted to because they felt society had a more positive view on female virgins and that this may have made them sexually attractive.

Thinking of losing virginity as part of a natural developmental process resulted in less power imbalance between boys and girls because these individuals felt less affected by other people and were more in control of their individual sexual experience.

Adolescent sexuality is a stage of human development in which adolescents experience and explore sexual feelings.

Interest in sexuality intensifies during the onset of puberty, and sexuality is often a vital aspect of teenagers' lives.

Those conducting the study speculated that fewer girls say they have ever had sex because girls viewed teenage parenthood as more of a problem than boys.